Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Best Of Vegas - This Summer And Beyond!

Based on our trips to Las Vegas over the years, we've managed to put together a very subjective best 'n worst list of our highest recommendations and biggest disappointments. Here it is:

Best dining - We still love Wolfgang Puck's Spago at Caesar's. Service, ambiance and meal were all top notch. Pasta is divine. The staff is superb!

Most romantic spot with view - The lounge at the top of the new Mandarin Oriental at City Center. The drinks are great, the jazz is cool and the view is positively spectacular.

Best buffet - The Buffet at Aria in City Center. It's almost a sin to call this a "buffet." From Alaska king crab legs to peach cobblers and French pastries (all in a nifty environment) this is a super-memorable dining experience -- and good value, too.

Surliest service - From the staff at Otto in The Venetian's St. Mark's Square. Would it kill anybody here to smile?

Best architecture - All of City Center. This is a sleek new homage to the modern school of design with cool mid-century vibes. It manages to strike a rare balance in shrill, sin city: both comforting and invigorating at the same time.

Most durable attraction - Penn & Teller at the Rio. Ten years in the same theater hasn't dimmed this pair's act one bit. They're still great audience pleasers -- and still packin 'em it.

Most overrated attractions - All of the Cirque du Soleil shows. These cookie-cutter spectacles are gobbling up every showroom in town. If you must, see just one and get it over with.

Rental car agency to avoid: Dollar Rent-A-Car. No cars, no choices. Even though we had a specific reservation, they told us we had to wait for a car to be returned to get our preference. Then they tried to push us into a van. 

Undiscovered treasures - The Neon Museum and Boneyard and the Atomic Testing Museum. Don't miss either one of these!

Liveliest outdoor experience - The Fremont Street Experience, downtown where Las Vegas began.
Best value, pure entertainment -Vegas, The Show at Miracle Mile Shops in Plant Hollywood. This is Las Vegas as it was meant to be.

Vaguely disappointing - Tobey Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in Harrah's. We're not sure what we were expecting, but we know this wasn't it. 

Best way to avoid The Strip traffic - Koval Lane. It connects with most of the casinos and gets you right into self-park.

Best pool (and pool bodies) - The Cosmopolitan, overlooking The Strip. This is a multi-level feast of sensual and visual delights. VERY Miami.

Nicest staff - The people at The Rio. They go out of their way to please.

Strangest phenomenon - Harry Reid -- and the suckers who keep electing him.

Favorite politicos - Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman and her predecessor (and husband) Oscar Goodman. As relative newlyweds, these two moved to Las Vegas from Philadelphia in 1964 arriving in August with only $87 left in their collective pockets shortly after Oscar successfully completed the Pennsylvania bar examination. The rest is history. Bravo!

Best place to buy show tickets - Tix 4 Tonight. get same-day tickets to most shows at 30% to 50% off. Also, great deals on dining. 

Still a dazzler - The outdoor fountain show at The Bellagio. Don't miss the last shows at 11:45 PM and midnight!

Best place to shop - Town Square at the end of The Strip (Las Vegas Blvd.). A lovely outdoor oasis with all the shops and restaurants you want -- and movies, too.

Best new view - The spectacular view of Hoover Dam from the new Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, the key component to the Hoover Dam Bypass project and the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the US. It' breathtaking! 

Most intimate casino - For all its size, the casino floor at Paris remains wonderfully cozy, in a charming, French sort of way, of course.

Best summer value - The dining deals at every restaurant at Wynn and Encore. Thank you, Steve!

Fascinating, friendly shop - The Teno Store at Plant Hollywood in the Miracle Mile Shops. Beautiful titanium and stainless steel jewelry and watches -- all nicely priced, with a friendly and helpful staff.

How to know you're alive - Go see Blue Man Group at The Monte Carlo. Exhilarating!

Artistic treasure - Henry Moore, Claus Oldenberg and more at City Center

Gehry to gaze at - The Center for Brain Health at Cleveland Clinic between The Strip and downtown. This Frank Gehry designed Center is an instant landmark! 

Best place for people watching - Just about everywhere! 

What happens in Vegas - Whatever you want, baby.

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